And welcome to another edition of Bars You Must Try! Today we’re going to visit the Columbia Room, and if by today you mean February 9th, which was when I went, the first day it reopened to the public since closing in the Passenger on NYE 2014, which made me so excited I made reservations for right in the middle of what was to be our last staff meeting con call, leaving me standing in Blagden Alley taking the call and freezing my butt off before going inside to see the new joint.
But man oh man, is it nice. I walked up the stairs, through the Punch Garden (which I believe is opening tomorrow!) and met Derek in the Spirits Library, where Alex was serving up drinks. The Library is a more casual place with drinks a la carte and a chance to try some rare liquors. But I’ll come back there in a moment.
After Derek took my coat I was escorted into the Tasting Room. If you’d visited the Columbia Room’s previous incarnation, you knew it to be quite the intimate spot, as it was quite easy to have someone accidentally touch your intimate spots you were so close together. Now, it’s a bigger room with more seats (and cool booths behind you) and much, much more comfortable. I’d gone for the five course drinks (three drinks with food is $75, all taxes and gratuity included, and the extra two drinks costs an extra $25) because of course I did. Out came the Shoot One, a delightful riff off Coca-Cola, and away we went.
It’s amazing how quickly two hours can go when they’re spent in an atmosphere like this, with amazing drinks like these, and with people so passionate, knowledgeable, and entertaining as JP Fetherston, Derek Brown, Adriana, and their crew. Each drink was beautiful and delicious with the accompaniments pairing perfectly with them.
(Oh, and if you’re looking at the menu, I went for the Robert Frost Cocktail despite the incredible amount of venison I’ve been eating this winter because bourbon. The presentation was AWESOME on that with charcoal on the side, I should’ve taken more pictures but I didn’t because I am not good with the picture taking as you can tell by the pictures I do manage to take.)
As we finished up in the Tasting Room, JP told me he wanted to buy me a drink in the Spirits Library. I walked over to the bar – it was fairly packed by this point – and perused the menu while Alex (whom you may remember from Southern Efficiency) finished up the drinks he was working on. I did my best to pick just one drink which was very difficult, but I feel that I chose well.
Why? Because I chose the Steady Cocktail, a combination of gin, dry vermouth, Elixir Vegetal de la Grande-Chartreuse (which is g-ddamned delicious, and no, I won’t look up how to put all those accent marks into WordPress), with a garnish of three beautiful drops of extra virgin olive oil and accompanied by complimentary olives (they told me I was very pretty that day).
Friends, please believe me when I tell you that it was quite the wonderful drink.
I could’ve stayed in the Spirits Library and hung out all night, sipping all of the cocktails on the list until I stumbled home. But, alas, I knew I needed additional sustenance to maintain my svelte figure, so it was time to take my leave and hopefully not get as lost leaving as I did arriving.